WoW skills

WoW players usually spend a large amount of their leisure time in game. It’s a shame that so much of what we do in Azeroth doesn’t translate well on Earth. I spend a few hours a week farming herbs while digging for artifacts. If I were writing a performance review for myself (I can’t stand those.), how could I list that? “Ability to perform tedious tasks patiently.” I don’t think my supervisor would be impressed.

But most people agree that quite a few skills we acquire and hone in WoW are useful into the workplace. Recently, Neri at Neri Approves! blogged about how being a guild master helps her outside of the game. Warcraft Street’s Frinka tackled the same topic, but her angle is gold-earning.

What WoW skills?

Neri lists conflict resolution, time management, and communication as what she’s gained as a guild master. Decision making, market philosophy, and professional values are skills possible to be gleaned from gold-earning, according to Frinka. Scott wrote about many guild leading skills that would look good on a resumé in Officers’ Quarters a few years ago. I have some favorite things that I’ve learned:

Time management Learning how to consistently juggle what you need to do outside of Azeroth with what you want to do in game is something that can be learned from your early teens. That skill will help at college, at work, and in relationships. I have always recommended that parents use WoW to teach their kids time management skills. You miss a valuable teaching opportunity when you outlaw video games in your child’s life.
Leadership You learn how to lead when heading up a guild, raid, or even just a 5-man group. You need to be able to motivate people, praise or reprimand as needed, and have the knowledge to back it all up. These skills are useful everywhere.
Drama avoidance When Lisa and I give our Drama Mamas advice, we are not meting out justice; we can’t without knowing all sides of the situation. It’s not the Mama Judges column. Avoiding drama often means swallowing an injustice in order to keep things smooth with coworkers and supervisors. Privately attempting to resolve conflicts and to right wrongs is something I don’t think comes naturally. (It certainly didn’t with me.) The same techniques for keeping drama out of your in-game life apply to the physical world — and vice versa.


Should I put my WoW playing on a resumé?

No. WoW shouldn’t be mentioned anywhere on a cover letter or resumé. Neither should you list your many Achievements — no matter how difficult they were to get. You want to get a better position at your current job? Don’t include anything that implies how much time you spend playing video games.But definitely list the skills listed above. If you’ve got them, flaunt them. When job searching, you are selling yourself. And whether you learned useful abilities from previous jobs, school, team sports, or leading raids; they need to be part of your sales pitch. But you need to state them in a language employers understand. Keep MMO lingo out of your cover letter and your interview.

Of course, you never want to lie. If prospective employers want to know why you have three years of leadership experience when your previous employment record shows nothing of the kind, go ahead and mention that it’s from leading an online organization of however many people. What online organization? Now it’s time to mention World of Warcraft. They’ll have heard of it — for good or bad. Non-gamers don’t know what an MMO is, and explaining it is time-consuming. Time is precious in an interview, so you want to stay on target.

U.S. men to face Poland

U.S. men to face Poland in World League final.

Olympic champions the United States and Poland will meet in the gold medal match in volleyball’s World League after straight sets wins over Cuba and Bulgaria respectively in the Armeets Arena in Sofia on Saturday.
The tournament’s finals were infused with an extra ingredient as five of the six competing teams put the finishing touches to their preparations for the London Olympics.The U.S., who have won the premier annual men’s volleyball tournament only once in 2008, overpowered Cuba 25-23 25-22 25-23 while Poland reached their maiden final after beating hosts Bulgaria 25-23 25-20 25-18.
Cuba, a team made up of home-based players, were worthy opponents but the U.S. broke them down thanks to effective performances by Clayton Stanley and Matthew Anderson.
The towering 2.05-metre captain Stanley scored 17 points, including four aces, and outside hitter Anderson added 13 points.
“When we play against Cuba, we always have close sets, so we expected it to be the same today,” coach Alan Knipe told a news conference. “The good thing is we have a high hitting percentage and the players have done well in reception.
“The most important thing is that we used the ability to create opportunities in defense and turn them into points.”
Impressive Poland, who won the bronze medal on home soil last year, cruised to a 3-0 victory over Bulgaria, in the other semi-final despite passionate support from their hosts’ fans.
Poland overwhelmed their opponents, ranked ninth in the world, with a dazzling display of power and aggressive serving as a gulf in class between the two teams was visible in key moments.
“We’re very excited, it’s a historic moment for us and we just can’t wait for the Sunday’s final,” Polish captain Marcin Mozdzonek said.
The U.S. and Poland will compete on Sunday for the gold with the winners also earning $1 million cash prize.
World champions Brazil, who have won the competition nine times, failed to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1998 after defeat in straight sets by Cuba on Wednesday and a 3-2 loss to Poland on the following day.


Selling the dream to a world full of Blockheads

“I think I’m gonna spew,” said Brad Cranfield, winner of The Block, which is certainly how this viewer felt watching the Channel Nine renovation show last Sunday night.
As the contestants listened to hundreds of thousands of dollars pour into their bank accounts in the show’s finale, a glassy-eyed, almost drugged stupor took hold of them. It was like watching a coked-up businessman fondle a stripper during a lap dance: naked human desire, stoked for 10 weeks, then sated with a Bacchanalia of ”Block-tion” bids.

Hell, I felt it too. Half a million bucks! The surge of hardware – and fast-food-sponsored endorphins – left me dreamy on my couch.
Then, reflecting upon how superbly I was being manipulated, I too was overwhelmed by nausea. As a franchise, The Block was on its knees last year, with three of four properties passed in at auction.
The fiction it peddled – renovate a house and months later you’re rich – proved just that.
This year, producers gave us fantasy mainlined to the brain – setting reserves for the Melbourne properties so low they guaranteed contestants a small fortune.
Brad’s partner, Lara Welham, went one better than her beau and myself, actually vomiting (with joy) after her shot of gratification, which saw the pair pocket more than $600,000. ”This could be life-changing for all of us,” Brad said, a sentiment giddily echoed by the other contestants, who, like so many of us, aren’t content with simply being healthy, safe and having hot water. A total of 2.7 million Aussies watched this confection and I wonder how many went to bed dreaming of being the next big winners; of the cash, the property, the soft furnishings, the stuff they could buy.
Turning to Twitter, I expected a redemptive torrent of cynicism, only to find a stream of, ”I’m so happy for them!” and, ”This is unbelievable!!”


Religion may well be the opium of the people but nowadays it’s a little old-fashioned compared with the meth-hit of consumerism; the result, a zombie-like lust for crap we do not need, for a house we cannot possibly fill, a life most of us will never lead.
The concept of ”bread and circuses” to appease the masses has been with us since Roman times but I wonder how many of us realise the finely tuned soul-smack of shows such as The Block owe as much to Sigmund Freud as they do to Channel Nine’s programming department? In 1900, Freud shocked the world with his theories about humankind’s primitive, hidden desires, but it was his little-known American nephew, Edward Bernays, who packaged this knowledge and, some would argue, changed Western culture forever.
The BBC documentary The Century of the Self traces the roots of consumerism back to Freud and Bernays, widely held to be the inventor of modern ”public relations”.
”Bernays was the first person to take Freud’s ideas about human beings and use them to manipulate the masses,” the doco says. ”He showed American corporations … how they could make people want things they didn’t need by linking mass-produced goods to their hidden desires.”
Bernays – who convinced women to smoke, kids to like soap and all of us to eat eggs with bacon – saw that if you continuously stimulated our irrational selves (seriously, is it rational to put artificial turf on your ceiling?), you could then satisfy our primitive desires with … stuff, transforming the rambunctious ”citizen” to a happy, docile ”consumer”. Or Blockhead.

Wladimir Klitschko

Wladimir Klitschko retains world heavyweight belts.

Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine, right, fights contender Tony Thompson of the United States, left, during their world heavyweight championship title bout at the Stade de Suisse soccer stadium in Bern, Switzerland, Saturday, July 7, 2012. Wladimir Klitschko stopped Tony Thompson in the sixth round to retain his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title belts on Saturday.
Wladimir Klitschko stopped Tony Thompson in the sixth round to keep a comfortable hold on his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles Saturday night.
The 36-year-old champion Klitschko, 58-3 with 51 knockouts, floored Thompson with a big right hand near the end of the fifth round at Stade de Suisse, and the 40-year-old American never recovered.
The Ukrainian champion dropped Thompson again in the sixth, and referee Sam Williams gave the challenger a standing count before stopping the fight at 2:56.
“Thompson was not so easy to box. I’m satisfied,” Klitschko said.
In 2008, Klitschko stopped Thompson in the 11th round.
Thompson, the mandatory challenger nominated by the IBF, fell to 36-3 (24 KO).
After the fight, Klitschko led the 22,000 crowd in signing “Happy Birthday” to trainer Emanuel Steward, who turned 68 on Saturday.
“Tony Thompson is very hard to hit,” Steward said. “Tony was watching Wladimir’s right hand all night.”
A cagey opening round was followed by a scrappy second, as Klitschko twice wrestled Thompson to the floor.
Thompson briefly stepped up his cautious tactics when landing a left to Klitschko’s face in the third.
Klitschko finally landed a long, straight right in the fifth and the round ended with Thompson struggling on the ropes.
The champion cornered Thompson toward the end of the sixth, and landed punches to the head though no single blow appeared to cause serious damage.
“I got caught but I’m OK,” Thompson said in the ring. “He’s strong and he’s world heavyweight champion for a reason.”
Klitschko extended the domination of the heavyweight ranks he shares with his older brother, Vitali.
Vitali was in his brother’s corner as usual, and acted as cheerleader in the third round, urging on fans in the soccer stadium when the first chants of “Klitschko! Klistchko! stirred.
The elder Klitschko will defend his WBC title against Manuel Charr of Germany in Moscow on Sept. 8.

World Pride parade

London hosts scaled-down World Pride parade.

London hosted a subdued World Pride parade on Saturday after organizers of the gay rights event said they had scaled it back due to funding shortages.
There were no floats or vehicles at this year’s celebrations in the British capital and no street events planned in the Soho district, where most of the city’s gay bars are concentrated.
The procession, which culminated in Trafalgar Square, also ended earlier than usual, at 6:00 p.m. (1700 GMT), organizers said.
London Pride issued an apology on its website earlier this week, saying it “deeply regrets the situation”, but said the changes were necessary in the interests of safety.
The charity blamed increased costs and the tough economic climate for the funding shortfall.
London Pride’s chairman Patrick Williams resigned on Wednesday following criticism of the board’s handling of this year’s event.
But the group urged people to join its celebrations regardless, adding that Britain’s gay community had “never been one to flounder in the face of adversity”.
Organizers said around 25,000 people took part in the march, while crowds also filled Trafalgar Square for performances by acts including Boy George.
The British government showed its support for the event in its 40th year, by hoisting the rainbow flag symbolising gay pride over one of its ministries for the first time on Friday.
Prime Minister David Cameron also sent a message of support Saturday, wishing those involved a “happy Pride”.
“It is 40 years since people first marched in London calling for equal rights,” he said.
“Since then we’ve come a very long way and progress is still being made.”
Ministers have pledged to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales by 2015, despite opposition from some Conservative lawmakers and religious figures.
Homosexual couples in Britain have been able to obtain civil partnerships, giving them legal rights similar to heterosexual married couples, since 2004.
British gay rights groups used Saturday’s event to call on other nations to decriminalise homosexuality.
“Nearly 80 countries still criminalise homosexuality, with penalties ranging from a few years imprisonment to life imprisonment and even execution,” said veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell.
Tatchell helped organize Britain’s first Gay Pride parade in July 1972 and runs a gay rights foundation.
Revellers wore crowns, carnival outfits, chains, masks and leather kilts, and waved placards reading “proud to be trans”, “glad to be gay” and “decriminalise homosexuality worldwide”.
Gay members of the armed forces marched, while others carried banners reading “fighting racism and homophobia” and “veterans of 1972″.


Apple faces new legal challenge in China.
A Chinese technology company has filed a legal challenge accusing US technology giant Apple of infringing its patented voice-recognition software with its Siri function on the iPhone.
The move came just days after Apple paid $60 million to end a dispute over who could use the iPad name in China.
Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Co said it patented its Xiao i Robot software in 2004, while Apple’s Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S last year, was first developed in 2007.
The Chinese company’s version operates in a similar way to Apple’s personal assistant and works on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems.
Si Weijiang, a lawyer acting for the Shanghai-based company, said it had tried to contact Apple two months ago over the alleged infringement but received no response.
“We sent legal notices to Apple in May, but no one contacted us. We filed the lawsuit in late June to the Shanghai number one intermediate people’s court,” Si said.
“Currently the case is now at the court-mediated stage.”
“We mainly ask Apple to stop infringing on our patent and cover the court costs, but once the court confirms Apple has infringed on our patent, we will propose compensation,” he added.
The company’s chairman, Yuan Hui, told the Apple Daily newspaper that the firm had 100 million users in China.
“People feel that China has no innovation, that companies here just copy. But in fact, we are leaders in our field, and we have created our own innovation,” Yuan told the paper.

Spain Ortega Drops

World’s Richest Lose $1.4 Billion as Spain’s Ortega Drops.

The world’s wealthiest people dropped a combined $1.4 billion from their collective net worth this week as global equity indexes sputtered.
Eight of the planet’s 10 richest people saw their fortunes decline, led by Amancio Ortega of Spain. Europe’s richest man shed $2 billion from his fortune as shares of Inditex SA (ITX), the world’s largest clothing retailer, fell 3.4 percent from a record on July 3. Ortega, 76, maintained his position as the world’s fourth-richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily measure of the world’s wealthiest people.Central bank rate cuts in Europe and China did little to bolster global markets. The European Central Bank reduced its benchmark rate to a record low of 0.75 percent in an effort to revive consumer spending. The People’s Bank of China cut rates for the second time in a month in response to estimates that lowered the country’s GDP growth forecast to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent.
“The capital markets are getting tired of the rhetoric and they are getting tired of monetary policy,” said Jack Ablin, who helps oversee $60 billion at BMO Harris Private Bank in Chicago. “Eventually they are going to need to see some substantive action and it remains to be seen whether or not European policy makers are up to the task.”
The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index rose 1.3 percent this week, its fifth straight weekly advance. In the U.S., where job growth for June was slower than forecast, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.6 percent in New York.
Slim, Buffett
Carlos Slim, 72, remains No. 1 in the world with a net worth of $72.1 billion. The telecommunications tycoon lost $314 million this week after his wireless carrier, America Movil SAB, failed to force the Mexican government to grant it a pay-TV license after an appeals court ruled against the company.
Bill Gates is $10.1 billion behind Slim. The 56-year-old Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) co-founder dropped $321 million after shares of the Redmond, Washington-based company fell 1.3 percent. Microsoft said it would take a $6.2 billion writedown related to its purchase of AQuantive Inc. The accounting change will probably mean the company will report a loss for the quarter, which ended in June.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett, 81, ranks third on the index with a net worth of $46.1 billion. His fortune dropped $387 million for the week.
Three of the week’s biggest gainers came out of Asia. Cheng Yu Tung’s fortune jumped $1.9 billion after Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd., the world’s biggest jewelry retailer, reported a 79 percent jump in net income fueled by strong demand for luxury goods in China.
Asia’s Richest
Hong Kong property magnate Lee Shau Kee, 84, climbed three places on the list to 30th as China’s rate cuts helped buoy the real estate market. Lee is worth $18.6 billion.
Meanwhile, Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing, gained $723 million as shares of his conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., rose 6.2 percent this week after announcing it would form a joint venture with Vodafone Group Ltd. in Ireland. Li ranks 14th on the list with a net worth of $23.6 billion.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S. dollars.

World piles pressure on Assad as general defects

World piles pressure on Assad as general defects.

International leaders urged the UN to ratchet up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Al Assad by threatening tough sanctions, as the defection of a top general rocked his inner circle.Some 100 nations and organisations meeting in Paris called on the UN Security Council to adopt a transition plan for Syria backed by economic sanctions if the regime refuses to comply.US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a clarion call for all nations to do more to push for political change in Syria and end the 16-month conflict, while lambasting Russia and China for “blockading” progress.

The Friends of Syria talks in the French capital took place amid news that a general from Assad’s most trusted inner circle had defected in what would be a major blow to the regime as it battles the opposition.

“General Munaf Tlass defected three days ago,” a source close to the Syrian government said on condition of anonymity.

Tlass, the highest-ranking military officer to have abandoned the regime, was on his way to Paris to join his wife and his sister, Nahed Ojjeh,  said the source.A general in the elite Republican Guard charged with protecting the regime, he is the son of former defence minister Mustafa Tlass, a close friend of Assad’s late father and predecessor, Hafez.“A senior official from the Syrian regime, a commander in the Republican Guard, has defected and is headed for Paris,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed, although the final destination was unclear.Participants at the Paris meeting called on the UN Security Council to urgently adopt the six-point peace plan drawn up by UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan under the UN Charter’s Chapter 7.But the final statement stressed that any immediate action under Article 41 provided only for non-military intervention.French President Francois Hollande also pushed for the Security Council to get tough with Damascus, while the Syrian opposition called for humanitarian corridors and a no-fly zone.

The Annan plan, which insists on a cessation of violence by all sides, has made little headway and activists say an estimated 16,500 people have now died since the uprising began in March last year.

“We should go back and ask for a resolution in the Security Council that imposes real and immediate consequences for non-compliance, including sanctions,” ranging from economic measures to military force, Clinton said.

In some of her toughest comments yet, Clinton said she thought Russia and China did “not believe they are paying any price at all for standing up on behalf of the regime”.“The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price. They are holding up progress, blockading it. That is no longer tolerable,” Clinton said.Russia reacted immediately, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov “categorically” rejecting “the formulation that Russia supports Bashar Al Assad’s regime in the situation that has developed in Syria”.Although Moscow did not attend the meeting, a diplomatic source insisted that “Russian political and security circles are changing their position”.“They agree that the situation is deteriorating… even if they continue to defend Moscow’s policies,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.UN chief Ban Ki-moon in New York called on the Security Council to consider reducing the number of unarmed military observers in Syria and put more stress on political efforts to end the conflict.The latest defection comes two weeks after a colonel in the privileged Syrian air force won political asylum after landing his MiG-21 fighter in neighbouring Jordan.“This is a major blow to the Assad regime,” Abdel Basset Sayda, the head of the main opposition Syrian National Council, told journalists in Paris.

“We cannot comment where he is. We are going to seek some cooperation with him. We call for other defections.”The Pentagon hailed Tlass’s defection, saying it signals cracks in Assad’s inner circle. “We welcome this defection and we believe it is significant,” Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby told reporters.Clinton also warned remaining Syrian army and regime members: “It is time to abandon the dictator, embrace your countrymen and women and get on the right side of history.”Sources close to Tlass say his family is now in Dubai while others said he would soon head to Paris.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 53 people were killed across Syria on Friday — 35 civilians, 14 soldiers and four rebels — as protesters took to the streets in several provinces after being urged to call for a “People’s liberation war.”The watchdog reported demonstrations in several provinces across Syria, including in Damascus and Aleppo, the country’s commercial hub.Morocco will host the next Friends of Syria meeting, but no date has been set.

World within a world

FICTION: World within a world.

SAND, sweat and inner turmoil are recurring themes in Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya’s latest novel, The Watch. Set in an isolated American garrison in Kandahar, Afghanistan, The Watch unfolds the story of Nizam — a Pashtun girl — who parks herself outside a military base. Nizam is there for only one reason — to take back the body of her brother who was killed in battle at the base a few days ago.

Combat Outpost Tarsandan, located in a mountainous and remote part of the province, is attacked by men perceived to be Taliban. The US forces suffer heavy casualties, including the death of a much-loved and respected lieutenant. After a fierce firefight the attackers are killed and their bodies dragged and dumped outside the base, except for Nizam’s brother’s. The US military plans to transport his body to Kabul and showcase the rotting corpse as part of their anti-Taliban propaganda.

Not willing to let that happen, Nizam sits in a trolley outside the outpost, demanding her brother’s body. The unarmed, legless Pashtun girl wants to give him a proper burial and refuses to leave in spite of being ordered to.

Nizam’s presence and conviction triggers a bizarre stand-off with the battle-hardened men inside the garrison. They do not know what to do with her and her presence makes the tense, claustrophobic atmosphere in the camp come to a boil as rank and file argue about what to do next.

She goes on to explain that her brother was not a Taliban, but a mujahiddin — a proud Pashtun who hated the invading forces as much as he despised the Taliban. Though he attacked the garrison, he was also fighting the Taliban.

Enter Masood, a local Afghan interpreter who joins the garrison and is in complete awe of the visitors. He is convinced the Americans are going to bring peace to his country. As one character says, “Dude, we didn’t sign up to save your country. Most of us signed up to get a regular pay check and avoid working at the local super mart for the rest of our lives.” Soon the soldiers begin to dwell on their purpose in Afghanistan.


Roy-Bhattacharya evokes the futility of war and the failure of an imperial adventure gone terribly wrong. The landscape is just as brutal as the war, and the author minces no words in an interview with the publisher as to what drew him to write about Afghanistan, given that he has never set foot in the country: “Afghanistan is at the heart of Asia, and when Afghanistan suffers, Asia bleeds. It’s a wildly beautiful country, with a wildly beautiful people, and one of the last places in the world that appears to have successfully held its own against misguided outside influences.” He goes onto add, “What’s not to love?’

Although the Indian-born American author has never served in the military, he deftly uses his imagination as a tool and through the lives of several soldiers, tells us how the Afghan mission is lurching from one disaster to the next.

The US troops soon realise that, compared to the ultra corrupt government in Kabul, Nizam’s request for her brother’s body is untainted by any ulterior motive. Her need is simple and she has no interest in compromising with those who have killed her family. She rejects their every overture — be it offerings of food or offers of treatment for her amputated legs.

By doing so, Nizam becomes a microcosm of rejection by the Pashtuns of the material temptations offered by the West. She sees no problems with her way of life and wants nothing to change.


As UAE residents try to escape the heat by staying indoors or leaving town, another group of local dwellers is being turned out of doors to brave the rising temperatures on their own.
It may be a common sight year-round to see cats lingering around the city, but summer swells their ranks as travelling pet owners deposit their animals on the street.
“Abandonment is always a problem; it just gets worse at this time of the year,” says Pam Greer from the Abu Dhabi chapter of Feline Friends, a non-profit organisation promoting cat welfare in the UAE. “People go away for the summer and they’re unable to get boarding for their pets, because the boarding places are minimal and they fill up really quickly. Then they just don’t know what to do.”
Most of the pet-boarding facilities in Abu Dhabi are booked solid through the summer holidays, often months in advance, as experienced residents know to make reservations early. However, Pam points out, those caught off guard still have options before deciding to leave their pets out on the street.
Local pet-sitting services such as Mrs Dolittle’s and Homely Petz care for pets through routine home visits while their owners are away, sidestepping boarding facilities’ issue of limited space. As a result, pet sitters are often better able to accommodate the higher demand during summers.
If all else fails, says Pam, pets should be “surrendered” to the Abu Dhabi Animal Shelter managed by Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital or to animal welfare organisations like Feline Friends. Domesticated animals often lack the scavenging skills to ensure survival, she explains, so the most humane approach consists of putting pets on a path that may lead to a new family and home.
“We’ll see these cats just cowering on the street, absolutely terrified,” describes Pam, who can distinguish between feral street cats and abandoned pets. “We try to find homes for them. That’s also an issue this time of the year, because the would-be adopters are not here. It’s this double whammy.”
Last Thursday, Feline Friends volunteer Lori Fantozzi was contacted to rescue a kitten found behind the Marks & Spencer building. Upon catching him, Lori immediately suspected that the exotic breed cat was an abandoned pet.
“He had been given a ‘lion cut’,” she says, explaining how the long-haired kitten’s body had been shaved to create a “mane” aroundthe face and a tuft of fur at the tail’s end. “I highly doubt he’s lost. He was almost certainly abandoned. For one thing, the area is all apartments. Also, he’s been out for a long time — he was filthy, hungry and thirsty. Yet no one has reported him missing,” she said.
Exotic, long-haired cats experience additional difficulties out on the streets, as they are more susceptible to respiratory problems and their fur gets matted without proper grooming. Because cats are territorial by nature, abandoned pets generally face attacks by street cats when entering new territories.
Animal welfare advocates like Pam and Lori are working on through the summer months, rescuing abandoned pets from an uncertain existence on the streets. They keep hoping to find these animals temporary or permanent homes though, according to Lori, “the resources grow less at exactly the time of the year when we need them most”.Самый известный мейн кун питомник в России может предложить Вам котят мейн кун .Сайт питомника мейн кун YanikaCoon

Bank of England

Bank of England hikes stimulus by £50 bn, holds rate.

The Bank of England is to increase its Quantitative Easing (QE) stimulus policy by £50 billion ($78 billion, 62 billion euros) to boost Britain’s recession-hit economy, it said on Thursday.
The central bank added that it was keeping its main interest rate at a record low 0.50 percent. Both announcements had been expected by traders, resulting in muted reaction for both sterling and London share prices.
“The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee today voted to maintain the official Bank Rate paid on commercial bank reserves at 0.5 percent,” the BoE said in a statement following its latest monthly meeting.
“The Committee also voted to increase the size of its asset purchase programme, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, by £50 billion to a total of £375 billion” over a four-month period, the central bank added.
Shortly after, the European Central Bank said it had lowered the rate for its main refinancing operations by a quarter of a percentage point to a record-low 0.75 percent.
Explaining the reasons for its own policy decisions, the BoE said on Thursday: “UK output has barely grown for a year and a half and is estimated to have fallen in both of the past two quarters.
“The pace of expansion in most of the United Kingdom’s main export markets also appears to have slowed. Business indicators point to a continuation of that weakness in the near term, both at home and abroad.”
The Bank of England added that “concerns remain about the indebtedness and competitiveness of several euro-area economies, and that is weighing on confidence here” in Britain.
Though not a member of the eurozone, Britain relies heavily on the area for the day-to-day trading of its goods and services.
The Monetary Policy Committee had pumped up the economy with £325 billion under its QE stimulus policy since March 2009, when it also slashed its key rate to its all-time low level.
Under QE, the BoE creates new cash to purchase assets such as government and corporate bonds with the aim of boosting lending and economic output.Britain’s recession is meanwhile deeper than initially thought after data last week showed the economy shrank 0.3 percent in the first quarter after a higher-than-expected 0.4-percent contraction in late 2011. A recession is defined as two quarters running of contraction.Despite QE, Britain’s main banks have been reluctant to lend to businesses and individuals as banks seek to repair their balance sheets, forcing the BoE to take more direct action.The BoE last month loaned banks £5.0 billion in the first use of a facility to shield Britain’s financial system from the eurozone debt crisis.It allotted the full amount on offer for six-month loans with an interest rate of 0.75 percent, under the central bank’s Extended Collateral Term Repo Facility (ECTR).The BoE, along with the British government, also intends to shortly launch a “funding for lending” scheme — lasting several years — that would offer cheap loans to banks in exchange for a wide range of collateral and on the condition that they increased lending to small businesses.Reports said that about £80 billion would be made available under the scheme.The BoE’s main task is to use monetary policy as a tool to keep annual inflation close to a government-set target of 2.0 percent.British 12-month inflation fell to 2.8 percent in May — the lowest level for more than two years — from 3.0 percent in April.


Now, world’s fastest camera to detect ‘rogue’ cancer cells.

Engineers have developed a new optical microscope that could make the tough task of distinguishing and isolating rare cells from among a large population of assorted cells for the early detection and monitoring of cancer a whole lot easier.
Typically, there are only a handful of them among a billion healthy cells, yet they are precursors to metastasis, the spread of cancer that causes about 90 percent of cancer mortalities.
Such “rogue” cells are not limited to cancer — they also include stem cells used for regenerative medicine and other cell types.
Unfortunately, detecting such cells is difficult. Achieving good statistical accuracy requires an automated, high-throughput instrument that can examine millions of cells in a reasonably short time.
Microscopes equipped with digital cameras are currently the gold standard for analyzing cells, but they are too slow to be useful for this application.
“To catch these elusive cells, the camera must be able to capture and digitally process millions of images continuously at a very high frame rate,” Bahram Jalali, who holds the Northrop Grumman Endowed Opto-Electronic Chair in Electrical Engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, said.
“Conventional CCD and CMOS cameras are not fast and sensitive enough. It takes time to read the data from the array of pixels, and they become less sensitive to light at high speed,” Jalali said.
The current flow-cytometry method has high throughput, but since it relies on single-point light scattering, as opposed to taking a picture, it is not sensitive enough to detect very rare cell types, such as those present in early-stage or pre-metastasis cancer patients.
To overcome these limitations, an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Jalali and Dino Di Carlo, a UCLA associate professor of bioengineering, with expertise in optics and high-speed electronics, microfluidics, and biotechnology, has developed a high-throughput flow-through optical microscope with the ability to detect rare cells with sensitivity of one part per million in real time.
This technology builds on the photonic time-stretch camera technology created by Jalali’s team in 2009 to produce the world’s fastest continuous-running camera.
In the study, Jalali, Di Carlo and their colleagues describe how they integrated this camera with advanced microfluidics and real-time image processing in order to classify cells in blood samples.
The new blood-screening technology boasts a throughput of 100,000 cells per second, approximately 100 times higher than conventional imaging-based blood analyzers.

BlackBerry App

BlackBerry App World records 3 billion downloads.

Amid its recent woes, BlackBerry at least could have something to cheer about this week: the number of apps downloaded from its App World store has breached the three-billion mark.
The milestone was recorded on its developer blog post Saturday – at a time BlackBerry is falling behind Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and even Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
“BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook users around the world have downloaded over three billion apps since BlackBerry App World launched! Three billion app downloads averages out to over 2.5 million downloads each day. What’s even more important – and impressive – is that the number of daily downloads continues to increase,” said “Victoria B” on the blog.
She added it took 786 days to reach the one billion mark, 210 days to reach two billion, and only 176 days to reach the three billion number.
Victoria B said this does not include apps downloaded from third-party BlackBerry app stores, or those pushed internally at companies or those downloaded directly from the web.
She noted there are now over 28,000 BlackBerry App World vendors, adding BlackBerry App World has continued to grow steadily with more than 90,000 apps now up for sale.
A separate article on tech site T3 noted BlackBerry has been suffering from diminished handset sales, and had already been surpassed by Windows Phone 7 in terms of the number of available apps.
T3 added iOS and Android have far more apps, numbering more than 20 billion to date.


Woman who lost unborn child in crash ID’d.

The Longmont Police Department released the name of the woman who lost her child in a suspected DUI crash.
Heather Surovik, 27, was driving in a white Pontiac sedan on Thursday when she was hit by a man with an extensive arrest record for drunk driving. Gary Sheats, 52, fled the scene and was later arrested in the driveway of his home.
Her 5-year-old son and mother, Terry Koester, were also injured in the crash.
Surovik remains hospitalized. Her father, Scott Koester, told authorities she is “making good strides toward recovery – which will be a long road – but she is alert and talking.”
Her son and mother were released from Longmont United Hospital. Authorities say both are recovering and Surovik’s son is doing well and “playing like a 5-year-old.”
The Boulder County District Attorney says Sheats’ Blood Alcohol Level was .292 at the time of his arrest. That level is nearly four times the legal limit.
9Wants to Know was able to find Sheats’ six prior DUI arrests:

• 1/1980 – DUI – Adams County
• 8/1988 – DUI – Denver PD
• 9/1992 – DUI- Arapahoe County
• 3/1998 – DUI – Denver PD
• 3/19/2008 – DUI – Denver PD
• 8/13/2008 -DUI – Denver PD
Sheats faces charges that include two felony counts of vehicular assault, one felony count of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injuries, leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence,
Sheats remains behind bars at the Boulder County Detention Center. His bond has been set at $100,000.
Surovik’s grandfather released the following statement:
The family would first of all like to thank the Lord, and all the friends and concerned individuals for all of their support through this difficult time.
We would like to update you on the current conditions. First of all, Brady Paul, the 8lb. 12oz child did not survive the accident. Calling him a “fetus” is offensive to our family. He was ready to be born within days and did not get that opportunity because someone that should not have been allowed to drive was behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Brady’s mother was seriously injured in the accident and is still in ICU fighting her way back to us thanks to a lot of help from great nurses and doctors at LUH. His grandmother was also injured in the accident and will be having surgery to repair a broken arm and wrist the first of next week, and is recovering from her injuries. Brady’s five year old brother was also injured with a bump to the head.
The family appreciates all of the outpouring of support, and because of those expressing desire to help in some way, a fund has been set up as “Brady Fund” care of Howe Mortuary 439 Coffman St. Longmont, CO 80501 to help the mother through the recovery process. We thank you very much.
We would also like to express outrage that this happened and do not understand how our justice system would allow this tragedy to occur, when someone with five DUIs would be allowed behind the wheel of an automobile and given the opportunity to hurt a family so deeply.

Italian art

Caravaggio claims spark Italian art world spat.

Caravaggio was notorious for his brawling, so it might be fitting that a claim by two Italian art historians that they discovered as many as 100 drawings by the painter in his boyhood has sparked an art world uproar.
The researchers say they found dozens of early drawings by Caravaggio in the collection of master Milanese artist Simone Peterzano, the painter’s teacher from 1584 to 1588. Many experts have responded with skepticism to the startling claim: Over the centuries, art historians have never definitively attributed any drawings to Caravaggio, who shook up 16th-century art by using models from the lower walks of life for religious scenes and dramatically counterpointing light and dark.
On Friday, the curator of the drawings collection at Milan’s Sforzesco Castle, where the collection of 1,500 painting generally attributed to Peterzano is kept, challenged the seriousness of the researchers’ methods and contended that the pair had never set foot in the room to scrutinize the works.
`’We would be happy to have a Caravaggio,” Francesca Rossi said, cautioning that it’s difficult to be sure of the works’ provenance. Making it especially difficult to pin works on Caravaggio was the artist’s habit of not signing his own work. Attempts at fakes and uncertain claims of authenticity have been frequent.
She dismissed the historians’ methods as naive.
`’What surprised us about this thing is the fact that these experts never came here in the drawings department to see the works,” Rossi told The Associated Press. `’They evaluated (the drawings) using black and white photographs.”
The researchers defended their claim, which they made public on Thursday in an interview with the Italian news agency ANSA.
Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli, told the AP in a phone interview that some of their research team studied the drawings firsthand. When pressed to identify the other researchers, she said she wasn’t authorized to reveal their names and passed the phone to the other art historian, Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz.
`’I saw the originals,” Bernadelli Curuz said. The art historian said he was able to visit the collection `’after hours,” thanks to his contacts with a high-level city official who was authorized to enter the drawings department. He declined to identify the city official.
But he insisted that he and Conconi Fedrigolli worked `’in a very scientific way” using photos of the drawings and comparing details to those in well-known Caravaggio works.
He said it was not logical that among the Peterzano collection drawings there wouldn’t be any by Caravaggio, a star pupil then known as Michelangelo Merisi. The artist is better known by the name of the Italian town where he was born.
He contended they were able to distinguish drawings by Peterzano from those of his pupils, including Caravaggio.
Among the prominent skeptics was Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums and one of Italy’s most esteemed art historians and restoration experts, who pointed out that many experts have seen the drawing and “not one of those experts had come up with the name of Caravaggio.”
Paolucci described the claim as `’pure inductive optimism” in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on Friday, though he acknowledged it was always possible that “researchers with lesser credentials but with an especially gifted eye, sensitivity and also luck” had pinpointed something new.
Paolucci has experienced first-hand the perils of attributing works to great artists, particularly Caravaggio. Two summers ago, the Vatican Museums director wrote an article under the headline `’A New Caravaggio? Not really,” a week after the Vatican newspaper first suggested that a painting depicting St. Lawrence could be that of Caravaggio – but then backtracked.


New rules for $648t derivatives market.
Global regulators have launched a consultation with the financial services industry to shape new rules on how much banks should set aside to cover the risk of default on uncleared derivatives deals in the $648 trillion market.
It is one of the final pieces of a sweeping reform of derivatives markets that world leaders called for by the end of 2012, after derivatives played a central role in the 2007-09 crisis, which led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
The proposals will affect trillions of dollars of transactions, bumping up costs for users and leaving smaller financial players out in the cold, while bolstering banks with deep pockets, industry experts said.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions consultation aims to identify how much margin or collateral, such as cash or highly-liquid securities, a derivative trader must put by to cover risks.
Just 15 dealers — including BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Societe Generale, and UBS — account for more than 80 per cent of trading in derivatives.
Derivative contracts like interest rate or credit default swaps are used to hedge or insure against risks such as unexpected moves in interest rates or a default by a company or country.
Most derivatives trading is between banks that typically do not post an initial margin on uncleared contracts.
The consultation paper proposes a standardised margin requirement of between two and 15 per cent of the size of the trade, depending on the type of asset, as well as its maturity. The aim is to cover the risks from the contract and to create a financial incentive to use a clearing house.
A clearing house creates a transparent trail for a trade and is backed by a default fund so that a transaction is completed even if one party to a deal goes bust.
The final piece in the derivatives puzzle is expected during the summer, when the Basel Committee will publish how much capital banks must have to cover their cleared derivatives contracts. Currently, no capital is set aside in many cases.
The amount of capital needed to cover a trade at a clearing house will hinge on the size of the ‘risk weight’ which, in turn, will depend on whether the clearer meets tough new rules to ensure its robustness.


Single port laparoscopic surgery now popular.
Single port laparoscopic surgery or Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS) is being practiced for the last three years at various centers with great success.

It has an edge over standard multiple port laparoscopic surgery by providing a single entry point, explained Dr Gautam Lahiri, Specialist General Surgeon, Zulekha Hospital, Dubai. Being a single incision entry, it is cosmetically better accepted and less painful than standard multiple port entry.

SILS was developed at Straussburg, Germany with a device called Gelport which accommodates four channels for entry inside the abdomen. Standard laparoscopic hand instruments are modified to provide some working space inside the narrow confines of the single port. However, advanced and technically difficult laparoscopic surgeries cannot be completed with this approach where conversion to multiple ports or open approach is adopted or more advanced 6 channel Endocone is used.
Last three years, all over the world SILS is getting wide popularity amongst laparoscopic surgeons and well-informed patients. In this approach a small curved incision of 3-4cms is made inside the umbilical fold which gets completely hidden after surgery. The scar is almost invisible. As it uses umbilicus as the port of entry, it is the safest as umbilicus is least vascular and can be safely entered.
There are many ways of suture-less closure of the laparoscopic ports namely subcuticular closure, steritape and tissue glue.
SILS provides a safe surgical plan which does not leave any scar or suture marks. It entails less pain and less hospital stay.


The business of networking.

In Academia, it’s not who you know that matters, it’s what you know — at least in theory. Unless you are Julia Hobsbawm.
One evening, Ms Hobsbawm delivered her inaugural lecture as the honorary visiting professor in networking at the Cass Business School at City University.
She began her talk with a warning: “You cannot run a business unless you are open to what is happening outside it. The myopia of the markets in 2008 shows the perils of not wanting to know reality.”
Yet she also urged students to discard any preconceptions they might have about what networking involved, especially “the notion that standing around in a roomful of strangers actually is the most productive way to network rather than, frankly, the least.”
Ms Hobsbawm first rose to prominence organising fund-raising events for the British Labour Party with her friend Sarah Macaulay. The two went on to found a public relations agency whose profile climbed even higher after Ms Macaulay married Gordon Brown, at the time the chancellor of the Exchequer. Notoriety, however, did not equal financial success, and the business closed. In 2005, Ms Hobsbawm opened Editorial Intelligence, a “networking business” that she described as a bridge between journalism and public relations. To her critics, the very idea was an outrage.

Media reports at the time said that some well-known names in British journalism had turned down offers of £1,000 pounds to sit on the group’s board, while Ms Hobsbawm’s proposal to charge business executives for arranged access to her stable of influential commentators was regarded as crossing a line that journalists have long regarded as sacrosanct.

Yet Ms Hobsbawm is far from defensive. “The human term for what I do is ‘matchmaker,”’ she said in her lecture. “I connect people with people, and people with ideas. My connections make a chain of connection, and so on. In Hebrew this is called a shidduch.”


Interviewed over coffee, she boasted of having introduced a number of happily married couples. She also confessed that the classroom was not her natural habitat.
“Even as a 13-year-old at the Camden School for Girls, I would stare out the plate glass windows at the people and cars feeling envy that they were going somewhere. I failed spectacularly at university,” she said. After dropping out of the Polytechnic of Central London, she worked as a secretary at a small medical publisher. When the company let her help out on publicity, Ms Hobsbawm found her vocation.
“My parents always said you should do what you love. I wasn’t any good at exams,” she recalled, but added, “I have a natural curiosity that, maybe because I never finished a degree, has not been straitjacketed.”
Her father is the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm; her mother is a musician. Both had fled Germany.
She described her own story as “a journey from telex to Twitter,” on which she has nearly 6,000 followers. Her career as a networker “started with practice and moved towards theory,” she said. “I’m very interested in the acceleration of modern life, and the speed at which information has to be understood now. And I found out that everything I was doing had a theoretical underpinning.”
She is particularly enthusiastic about the work of Mark Granovetter, a sociologist at Stanford University whose “weak tie theory” holds that in influencing our behavior and keeping us informed, our casual acquaintances are paradoxically more important than family members or close friends. “People we know well are more likely to be predictable — and less liable to surprise us,” Ms Hobsbawm explained.
She said that those who denigrated networking simply failed to understand it. “Leadership is the most exalted phrase in the corporate lexicon,” she said. “But leaders go to the Chelsea Flower Show. Leaders go to Davos. I want everyone to have the same opportunities that leaders have,” she said.
And what does Cass Business School expect from Ms Hobsbawm’s appointment? “Our intention is not simply to teach managers and students to be ‘better networkers,”’ said Cliff Oswick, who heads the school’s management faculty. Rather, he said, they wanted “to move beyond simplistic assumptions that ‘networking is good’ or that ‘networking is bad’ and to subject networking to intellectual scrutiny.”
“We are living in an era where the social and professional are increasingly blended,” said Ms Hobsbawm. “But I want to refute the idea that networking is all about calculation. We need to trust people to bring what they really like doing anyway into their day job.”


‘I say if you’ve got it, flaunt it’
Tracey Hall (44), director of Style Academy, is the Belfast Telegraph Woman Of The Year In Fashion and lives in Belfast. She says:
My most revealing dress is one I bought at MaxMara in London about eight years ago so I’ve worn it a few times. I didn’t wear it for a while because one time the photographer’s flash made it look slightly see-through.
I wore it at the Belfast Telegraph Woman Of The Year Awards in December. I needed to be taped into it so it was a nightmare getting ready. I even managed to cut my chest while I was putting it on so I arrived at the event bleeding!
It’s not a very comfortable dress to wear, particularly at a dinner where you spend a long time sitting and eating. I had tape and scissors in my bag and had to keep disappearing to the loo to put myself back together.
I decided to wear the dress because, although it shows off a lot, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in years. I’ve a new personal trainer, Stefan Rodgers of Fitness Matters in Hillsborough, and in the first four weeks with him I lost half a stone and really toned up. Then I was training for a Strictly Come Dancing event which helped too.
I used to think my legs were my best area so now I’m toned it’s nice to show off my stomach. My mum was horrified at it though — she told me to cover up after she saw the photos!
Once you reach 35 you really have to work at your figure — it’s harder to lose even 2lbs. Obviously, it can be tough with all the young models around at Style Academy but each of them has one area of their body they’re not happy with too.
I think Carol Vorderman looked amazing at the National Television Awards. Her arms were nicely toned and the cleavage was fantastic. I think if you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

‘You’ve got to be comfortable’
Brenda Shankey (40) is the managing director of Jason Shankey Male Grooming. She lives in Belfast with her husband Jason and children Lauren (11) and Will (9). She says:
During my working day I have to cover up. I work with a lot of men and I can be bending down to cut hair — it just wouldn’t be professional to have my cleavage on show.
I don’t mind showing off a bit if you’re at a formal event or something though. I think the important thing is that you are comfortable in what you are wearing and happy with it yourself.
My dress can be low-cut but only if I can find a bra that will go under it. The dress I wore at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year awards in December was backless so I had to find a bra that went around my waist for that one. As long as everything stays secure then I can be comfortable! I learnt the importance of a properly fitting bra a few years ago — it can make all of the difference to your shape.
Carol Vorderman looked amazing but I don’t know if would have the courage to show off that much cleavage. I suppose it can depend on how you’re feeling about yourself at the time.


Women: Can you flaunt too much cleavage?

Finding a dress you feel great in and which shows off your best assets is a Godsend, but when you reach a certain age, such a display of your charms seems to attract a backlash of criticism.
Witness the outcry over the sexy gown Carol Vorderman wore to last week’s National Television Awards. While the 51-year-old Loose Women presenter’s Suzanne Neville corseted dress showed off a figure the envy of many women half her age, there was still much muttering that, really, Vorderman should do the maths and cover up. Still, she joins a growing number of older ladies happy to take the plunge on a night out.
Our own columnist Pamela Ballantine often shows off her fabulous embonpoint in glitzy gowns while the gorgeous Tracey Hall wore a daring dress to the recent Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year awards. We talk to them and others about putting on a bold front.
‘I’m not afraid to show cleavage’
Pamela Ballentine, (52), broadcaster and journalist, lives in Belfast. She said:
As long as you aren’t offending anyone, I think if you’ve got it flaunt it. Carol Vorderman looks fantastic and if I could wear a dress like that and look as good I would.
I am not a fan of nude dresses, but the style of it really suits Carol’s shape.
She and I are a similar age and I am not afraid to show my cleavage off. You are after all supposed to draw attention your best assets, so I have no problem showing my legs or my chest off, but never at the same time.
There is a fine line between looking good or mutton dressed as lamb and fair play to Carol she has publicly acknowledged outfits she has been lambasted for in the press, saying they were fashion faux pas.
Of course women get to a certain point when they have to dress in a way that is age appropriate, and that comes with experience. You look back and think certain outfits are outrageous. I have never been really embarrassed by an outfit I have worn. I try to dress in a way that is event appropriate, so I do my home work into the dress code and who is going.
I was going to an event at St. James’ Palace last year and I had a great dress too wear, but it was too low cut. It would have been great to wear to the races, but not to hand out Duke of Edinburgh medals, so I wore something else.
It is important for outfits to be age appropriate, event appropriate as well as self appropriate, so you really have to be comfortable in what you are wearing.
I’m not sure if Carol has had any surgical enhancement or is what they’re calling a ‘squoob job’. Either way I think she looks great.”

Confident dressing

‘Carol must be under pressure to keep up with the younger girls’

Lynda Bryans (49) is a television presenter. She lives in Belfast with husband Mike Nesbitt and sons PJ (14) and Christopher (16). She says:
Looking at the pictures of Carol Vorderman, the first thing I think is ‘What a figure she has.’ For 51 she looks amazing, especially how toned her shoulders and arms look. I’ve seen her wear this dress before and it really shows off her curves, but her boobs look too big for it, like they are going to fall out. It also looks too small at the back. The straps on the dress are off the shoulder, so it looks like she is about to take it off, but I suppose that’s the look she is going for. Clearly she has the bottle and the figure to wear it, but it doesn’t leave much to the imagination.
There is a fine line between taste and decency and then looking sluttish. As you get older you’re meant to become more confident with yourself and your sexuality, and for me that means you shouldn’t have to show it all off. In Carol Vorderman’s line of work she probably has a lot of pressure on her to keep up with the younger girls, but this is her second time wearing it and I think she should put it away now.
She looks great for her age, but she would look even better in a classier dress. She must be very confident dressing this way and, like Joan Collins, I don’t think she will be changing her style any time soon.
I don’t have the confidence or the figure to pull of a dress like that, but even if I did have her figure, I wouldn’t want to wear it. Plus, I don’t think my boobs would hold it up anyway. I always feel better about my body and wearing low cut or form fitting dresses, when I’ve been working out. Your whole body image changes and I even find my walk changes.
I get really peeved when women like Carol Vorderman are scrutinized so much and suffer from pressure to look a certain way on television. I think you should be happy with what you have.”


‘Sometimes I think less is more’
Emma-Louise Johnston (34) is a journalist and TV presenter. She lives in Maghera with her husband Jonathan Crawford and their baby daughter Emily. She says:
I hate having too much cleavage on show and looking back I can see how many times I’ve done it — it’s making me cringe slightly. I’m just not comfortable with showing massive cleavage.
There are a couple of times I’ve shown off a lot. Once was a dress that my husband bought for me at a charity auction. It’s a beautiful blue designer dress by Jenny Packham but very low cut. I’ve worn it a few times to get the wear out of it because it’s not often I have a designer dress. I have to admit, though, I recently had it altered so a piece of the lining was used to cover up the neckline a bit.
Last year, I presented an awards ceremony at the Culloden Hotel. I was pregnant and bought the dress a week before. I didn’t try it on again until the night I was at the Culloden and I was horrified. My chest had got bigger as it does when you’re pregnant. I couldn’t even wear a wrap over it because I was presenting. It’s at awards or events like that that my mum or friend or husband will tell me to put my hand down because I’m covering my chest up — that or take off my wrap which sometimes I don’t do.
I’ve seen the photos of Carol Vorderman and I think her dress and her figure are amazing — she looks gorgeous. I just don’t think someone that age should be showing off so much flesh which I know is a contradiction. Sometimes less is more.”
‘Show off the bits you’re proud of’
Holly Sweeney (21) is a dancer and lives in Belfast. She says:
“I’m a big fan of Carol Vorderman. I’ve watched her on Countdown and Loose Woman and she looks amazing — particularly in the dress she wore last week.
I’ve shown cleavage at a couple of awards dos, but it’s not something you set out to do. I look for the most beautiful dress, not the one that shows the most cleavage. If it happens to look like that when you put it on then so be it.
There isn’t an age where you should stop showing off — it’s all about how comfy you feel with your own body. If you’ve been to the gym and worked hard at it then why not show off the bits that you’re proud of. I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t.”
… and the last word goes to our keen-eyed man about town, Jamie McDowell.


The line between women of a certain vintage carrying off the plunging bombshell look and denying the local drag community their legacy is fragile and sketchy.

That said, female perceptions of the male mindset tend to be brutally truthful — we like cleavage. If we’re lucky, cleavage will like us. A man’s denial of liking cleavage is simply a lie tailored to project a false ‘I’m different from other guys’ persona in pursuit of getting closer to said cleavage.

Whether executed in the space of an evening, or over several months, this is the truth — it’s in our nature. If you don’t like it, Outer Mongolia is currently hiring shepherds.
Awards season fills the pages of every glossy magazine with endless pictures of women we’d forgotten that we’d forgotten about. The red carpet is a happy hunting ground for the paparazzi looking for the latest faux pas or the cougar who’s just managed to squeeze another year of sexiness into their dress. Yet the pictures are pored over — more so by women — in an endless game of contrast and compare.
But is there a set-in-stone rule to when older women should hang up the plunging dress? And when does the cleavage suddenly become more off-putting than appealing? Carol Vorderman’s appearance at the National TV Awards last Wednesday night was a conversation starter. Vorderman has a great body, is ageing more slowly than current economic growth and is still absolutely cracker at maths. So what’s the difference between her wearing a plunging dress and current fave model Rosie Huntington-Whitely wearing one?

Nothing, but there is a line some women shouldn’t cross. Take my word for it on this one. For the younger male, the appeal of a 60-plus lady of the night wearing nothing but two paper doilies and a free bus pass to cover her modesty is confined solely to the dark, perverse and unfathomable reaches of Wayne Rooney’s dome. And I’m sure young women (and probably old ones too) have the same views on our Peter Stringfellow types. Yet a dander down Shaftesbury Square on a Saturday night will reveal that the Zoolander-in-a-Zimmer-frame species is alive and well.
Vorderman’s still got it, but nothing reeks of despondent neediness like a celebrity of days gone by in a last ditch double pronged attack on the gossip pages. Or the hope of a spot on Celebrity Big Brother. As many men well attest to, nothing’s unsexier than the look of desperation.


The stars who keep abreast of fashion

Madonna’s corsetted Reem Arca dress for the Golden Globes last week showed off the 53-year-old singer’s enviable figure.

Never being one to shy away from a low cut dress, 66-year-old Helen Mirren seems very confident with her body. As her infamous red bikini pictures show, she has a lot to be proud of.

At 65 years old country singer Dolly Parton hasn’t let her age get in the way of showing off her large chest and recently proudly displayed a new flower tattoo in between her breasts.

Liz Hurley (46) shows no sign of wanting to cover up her cleavage and regularly wears low cut dresses or ones with plunging neck lines.

Singing superstar Cher is never afraid of getting them out and continues to dress in an age defying way and at 64 years old has admitted to being a ‘plastic surgery poster girl’.

Living up to her glamourous persona Joan Collins (78), pictured above with her sister Jackie, had to be rushed to hospital because her plunging purple Oscars dress was so tight that she reportedly fainted.


Huawei ups push into Mideast; Windows Phone soon.
ICT solutions provider Huawei announced that it would be collaborating with Microsoft to make its first Windows Phone handset.
In the Middle East, Huawei Device has focused on strengthening its regional distribution partnerships and has successfully launched a number of smartphones in the UAE, with plans to unveil its flagship Ascend P1 handset this month — the first Huawei phone to be introduced regionally under the company’s new Ascend Platinum series.
Part of the Huawei Ascend line — the company’s best-in-line smartphone family — the new Huawei Ascend with Windows Phone 8 expands the firm’s smartphone portfolio and brings the Windows Phone platform to an even bigger audience. Shenzhen-based Huawei is one of the few selected vendors in the world to carry the Windows Phone 8 OS in its handsets.
“2012 is building up to be a great year for Huawei. Now, we are poised to end the year with a big bang with the introduction of our first smartphone running on the Windows Phone platform,” Huawei Device chief marketing officer Shao Yang said.
While relatively new to the mobile phone business, Huawei has revealed ambitious plans to establish itself as one of the top five global smartphone vendors within the next two years, and reaching the top three by 2015.
“With Huawei’s impressive global capabilities, together we can bring Windows Phone 8 to more people around the world,” Microsoft Windows Phone Division corporate vice-president Terry Myerson said.
Huawei’s consumer business recorded global sales revenues of just over $7 billion last year, an increase of 44.3 per cent over the previous year with robust growth in the smart devices segment shipping close to 150 million units in 2011.

BlackBerry maker facing critical test

BlackBerry maker facing critical test this year.

Blackberry maker Research In Motion Ltd is losing two more senior executives as the money-losing company embarks on a strategic overhaul that its new chief executive says could result in its sale.
Alan Brenner, a senior vice president for the BlackBerry platform, will leave after a transition period, and Alistair Mitchell, a vice president for the BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging product, has already left, RIM spokeswoman Tenille Kennedy said in an email on Friday.
A stream of executives have left RIM in the past year as its once-dominant market share has slipped amid fierce competition from Apple Inc and phones running on Google Inc’s Android. RIM shares have dropped more than 80 percent from a peak of almost $70 in February 2011, to $12.67 on Nasdaq on Thursday.
Last week, RIM said it would stop issuing financial forecasts and that it was reviewing strategic options, such as entering partnerships and joint ventures or licensing its software.
CEO Thorsten Heins, who took the reins in January when longtime co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie resigned under pressure, would not rule out a possible sale of the company.
Several senior executives announced their departures in last week’s earnings report – including Balsillie, who stepped down from the board. RIM posted a net loss of $125 million after booking writedowns on its legacy BlackBerry 7 phones and goodwill.
RIM last recorded a loss under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in the fiscal 2005 fourth quarter, when it booked tax expenses and paid to resolve a patent infringement case that had threatened to shut down its U.S. operations.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based company is seeking a chief marketing officer and a chief operating officer.
In July RIM slashed 2,000 jobs, or about 11 percent of its workforce, to cut costs as sales and profit fell. Its developer relations and sales and marketing teams were particularly hard hit.
Head of marketing Keith Pardy left in March 2011, just before RIM launched its PlayBook tablet, which fared poorly. Two of his staff later moved to Samsung Electronics.
Chief Operating Officer Don Morrison resigned in July after taking medical leave. A second COO, Jim Rowan, left last week along with Chief Technology Officer David Yach.
Jeff McDowell, senior vice president for platform marketing and alliances, left RIM last July and Tyler Lessard, a senior vice president for global alliances and developer relations, left in September.


Greece debt swap talks continue, official says

The representative of Greece’s private creditors said Saturday that talks on a debt swap are continuing even after his unexpected departure from the country.

Charles Dallara, managing director of the Institute of International Finance, told The Associated Press that he is “constantly talking by phone” with Greek officials and that the talks are “coming together.”

Dallara had met with Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Friday to hammer out details of a bond swap deal that could potentially lighten Greece’s debt burden by as much as €100 billion ($130 billion).

Greek officials said late Friday that the talks would resume on Saturday.

But Dallara left the Greek capital for a “long-standing engagement” in Paris, said his spokesman Frank Vogl.

Vogl said that IIF’s legal and financial advisers are still in Athens working on several “outstanding issues” with Greek officials and that Dallara will return to Athens “as needed.”

No new date for face-to-face high-level talks has been set, a Greek government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis told The Associated Press.

A European diplomat told The Associated Press in Brussels on Friday that a deal could be reached during the weekend but several eurozone countries still maintain that the proposed interest rate being considered in a bond swap is too high. The diplomat requested anonymity because the talks are confidential.

US official

US official: Taliban should say they want peace

A top American diplomat visiting Afghanistan says the United States wants the Taliban to issue statements disassociating themselves from international terrorism and saying they want to join a peace process to end the 10-year war.

Marc Grossman, the special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, spoke to reporters Sunday in Kabul alongside Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin.

Ludin says the Afghan government supports having a Taliban political office opened in Qatar and would back an American decision to transfer some Taliban detainees from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar.

Grossman stressed that only Afghans can decide their country’s future, easing Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s fears of being sidelined in the peace process.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Moontime: I believe this has gone far enough. All law-abiding citizens of Malaysia should sue Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan and his family for bringing shame, deceit and blatant waste of time to the courts.

Even if we don’t have locus standi, we want them to know that the amount of resources spent going through this futile appeal can be used more productively elsewhere.

The attorney-general clearly shows his true colours this time by confirming our suspicion all along – that this is a political conspiracy aimed at preventing DSAI (Anwar Ibrahim) from becoming prime minister.

The ruling regime is scared that their corrupt way of life will be exposed once Pakatan Rakyat assumes power and forms the federal government.

Too much is at stake here: Birkin bags, mansions, Mercedes CLS, concubines and whatnot.

Not Confused: What I – and I suspect the majority of the right-thinking Malaysians – wonder is what justice is Saiful looking for?

The charge was consensual sex, therefore he was a willing partner. This has been apparently confirmed by himself.

He stated that he brought lubricant with him and added that the alleged act had been committed a number of times and yet he remained an aide to his so-called assailant.

By logical deduction then, if Anwar is by some further twist of fate, found guilty on appeal, Saiful’s situation has not changed in that he had consensual sex with his boss.

How on earth is this going to uphold his honour and dignity? Can someone out there explain this to me?

DesiKhan: Saiful should use his own money to get his lawyers to fight the issue. Why should the government get involved in this private case?

Q..!: Who is paying for this? Saiful or the taxpayers? If it’s the taxpayers, why should we care about what happened to him. He can get his father to pay for it.

Quigonbond: It’ll be the first if the Court of Appeal overturns a factual decision made by a High Court judge. But under Umno, any form of perversion of justice is possible.

In any event, Umno is screwed. They expected to put Anwar behind bars by now. Even if the Court of Appeal reverses the High Court decision, it cannot convict Anwar. At best, it can only order a retrial.

That’s going to take another two years, by which time Pakatan would have made it to Putrajaya.

But consider another possibility: Najib could be assured of electoral victory by other vicious forms of rigging and manipulation, no matter whether Anwar is leading the charge for Pakatan.

Hence, he might as well milk Anwar’s acquittal for all its worth by ‘cleaning up’ the Court of Appeal and Federal Court.

With this one case, the judiciary in Malaysia will purportedly be made independent, and whole, once more. And then, in the future, it will only be used judiciously by the government for really critical cases.

News International

Phone hacking: News International to pay out to 37 victims

News of the World publisher settles with victims including Jude Law, Ashley Cole, Sadie Frost and Lord Prescott

Actor Jude Law was among the phone hacking victims who received a settlement from News International. Photograph: Dave M. Benett/Getty

News International has agreed to pay out to 37 victims of News of the World phone hacking, including Jude Law, Lord Prescott and Ashley Cole, in a series of settlements likely to land the publisher with a bill of well over £1m.

The claimants alleged that senior employees and directors at News Group Newspapers (NGN), the News International subsidiary that published the News of the World, knew their journalists were engaging in illegal practices, and that the group sought to deliberately deceive investigators and destroyed evidence.

News International said in a statement:

“Today NGN agreed settlements in respect of a number of claims against the company. NGN made no admission as part of these settlements that directors or senior employees knew about the wrongdoing by NGN or sought to conceal it. However, for the purpose of reaching these settlements only, NGN agreed that the damages to be paid to claimants should be assessed as if this was the case.”

Details of 15 damages settlements, totalling £645,000, were revealed in the high court in London, along with three undisclosed sums to Cole, the England and Chelsea footballer, Harold Shipman’s son Christopher Shipman and former Labour MP Claire Ward. In each of the 18 cases News International is also paying legal costs.

The settlements included actor Law (£130,000), former Labour deputy leader Prescott (£40,000), Labour MPs Chris Bryant (£30,000) and Denis MacShane (£32,500), Welsh rugby union international Gavin Henson (£40,000), designer Sadie Frost (£50,000) and Prince Harry’s friend Guy Pelly (£40,000).

The others are to Lisa Gower (£30,000) – Steve Coogan’s former partner – an anonymous member of the public, HSK (£60,000), Prescott’s former aide Joan Hammell (£40,000), Law’s ex-assistant Ben Jackson (£40,000) and former PR Ciara Parkes (£35,000), journalist Tom Rowland (£25,000), lawyer Graham Shear (£25,000) and Joan Smith (£27,500), journalist and author and MacShane’s former partner.

The high court heard that a total of 37 cases have been settled, with 19 individuals not wishing to make a statement or have details of their settlement made public, in addition to the 18 who had statements read out on Thursday.

The total damages for the 37 settlements is unknown, but is likely to rise to more than £1m, with News International’s total bill significantly higher when legal costs are taken into account.


India lit fest says Rushdie cancels due to threats

Booker-Prize winning author Salman Rushdie canceled plans to appear at an Indian literature festival Friday after protests from Muslim clerics and warnings that he could be targeted for assassination.

Rushdie’s planned appearance at the Jaipur Literary Festival had reawakened the long dormant controversy over his 1988 book “The Satanic Versus,” which some Muslims consider blasphemous. He spent years in hiding after Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urged he be killed for writing the book, which also was banned in India.

In recent weeks, the head of the influential Darul Uloom seminary urged the government to bar Rushdie from the festival, and the chief minister of the state of Rajasthan, where Jaipur is located, said Rushdie should stay away because of security concerns.

Organizers of the five-day festival, which began Friday, postponed an event with Rushdie that had been planned for the first day, but still hoped he would attend.

On Friday, they read out a statement from the British-Indian author saying he had decided to cancel his trip after being informed by intelligence sources that “paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to ‘eliminate’ me.”

“While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the festival in such circumstances,” he said.

The controversy over Rushdie’s attendance clouded the opening of the festival, which will be attended tens of thousands of people who have come to this city to see Oprah Winfrey and literary stars, such as Michael Ondaatje, Tom Stoppard and Annie Proulx.

“It is tragic,” said William Dalrymple, an author and an organizer of the festival.

Rushdie followed up with a message on his Twitter account: “Very sad not to be at jaipur. I was told bombay mafia don issued weapons to 2 hitmen to ‘eliminate’ me. Will do video link instead. Damn.”

The Indian city of Mumbai used to be known as Bombay.

Organizers said they were trying to work out the details for holding an event with Rushdie via video conferencing.

The 64-year-old author attended the annual festival in 2007 without incident.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


150 people killed after terrorist bombing in Nigeria

BRITAIN has condemned terrorists behind bomb and gun attacks in Nigeria which left scores of people dead.

At least 150 people were reported to have been killed in the bombings in the northern city of Kano.

Hospitals and mortuaries were last night struggling to deal with the numbers of killed and injured.

Friday’s attacks hit five police stations, immigration offices and the headquarters of Nigeria’s secret police.

A suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with powerful explosives outside one of the police stations, tearing off its roof and blowing out ­windows.

The radical Islamist group Boko Haram claimed they carried out the attacks because the ­government refuse to release some of their members held by police.

Foreign Secretary William Hague told yesterday how he was “shocked and appalled” by the violence.

He said: “The nature of these attacks has sickened people around the world and I send my deepest condolences and s­ympathies to the families of those killed and to those injured.

“There is no place in today’s world for such barbaric acts and I condemn in the strongest possible terms those who carried them out.

“These events underline the importance of the international ­community standing together in the face of terrorism in all its forms.”

The atrocity in the city of nine million people was Boko Haram’s ­deadliest assault in Africa’s most heavily populated nation.


Arab League Meets on Syria

The Arab League meets in Egypt Sunday to review the first month of its heavily criticized observer mission in Syria. The Arab bloc is expected to extend its 165-person mission and increase its size.

Head of the opposition Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, was in Cairo Saturday for meeting with Arab League officials.  He said if the report from the observers is not objective, his group will reject it.

The U.S. Secretary of State called her Egyptian counterpart Saturday.  The State Department said Hillary Clinton “compared notes” with Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr about the developments in Syria in advance of the Arab League meeting.

Syrian activists said Saturday a group of army deserters seized the town of Douma on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, and then withdrew to their bases.  The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the fighting erupted when security forces fired on a funeral procession, killing four people.  Douma has been a continuing focus for unrest during a 10-month crackdown on anti-government protests.

Syrian state media and activists said at least 30 people were killed across the country Saturday as opposition groups appealed to the Arab League to seek United Nations intervention in Syria.

The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people. Syria says “terrorists” have killed about 2,000 security force members since the unrest began.


U.S. Military Chief in Israel to Discuss Iran Nuclear Program

The top U.S. military official held closed talks Friday with Israeli leaders over how to respond to Iran’s controversial nuclear program, which both countries fear is being used to develop nuclear weapons.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey, met in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, as well as Defense Minister Ehud Barak and military chief Benny Ganz.

Few details about the meetings were released, but Israeli media report the U.S. officials were expected to urge Israel not to make a pre-emptive military strike on Iran. Israel has not yet ruled out that possible tactic. The United States favors stronger sanctions against Iran instead of any military action.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the issue with her German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle. She told reporters after the meeting that Iran has a choice to come back to the table and address international concerns about its nuclear program or face international pressure and isolation.

“We are making it clear to Iran that its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its needless provocations such as the threats regarding the Strait of Hormuz place it on a dangerous path,” said Clinton.

The United States has been trying to gather more international support for the sanctions and says a military strike against Iran could further destabilize the Middle East.

In Brussels, the office of European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she had sent a letter to the Iranian Supreme National Security Council in October. The letter said the group of six nations, which include five permanent U.N. Security Council members [the U.S., China, Russia, Britain and France] plus Germany, is prepared to meet with Iranian officials if Tehran will work toward concrete confidence- building steps.

Tehran claims its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, but has rejected international inspection of its facilities. Iranian leaders have also threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz for oil shipping if the West imposes sanctions on Tehran.


Need to Know News: Newt Gingrich delivers show-stopper at beginning of South Carolina debate; 6 Marines die in Afghanistan crash

Each day, we here at “Piers Morgan Tonight” put together the news you need to know – from what happened last night to what will happen today.

For January 20, 2012 – Newt Gingrich delivers a show-stopper at the beginning of South Carolina debate, 6 Marines die in an Afghanistan crash and Joe Paterno allies to confront the Penn State Board of Trustees…

Newt Gingrich delivers show-stopper at beginning of South Carolina debate: “In a campaign cycle where debates have had direct consequences on the ebb and flow of the race, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich turned his contempt for the media into one of his strongest performances yet. When CNN Chief National Correspondent John King opened the debate with a question about open marriage, following an interview by Gingrich’s ex-wife saying that he had sought one, the Republican chastised him.”

• 6 Marines die in Afghanistan crash: “Allied forces have suffered a day of heavy losses in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash that killed 6 U.S. Marines and an attack that killed four French service members and raised the prospect of France withdrawing its troops early.”

• Costa Concordia ship captain allegedly ordered food after crash: “The captain of the Costa Concordia ordered dinner for himself and a woman after the ship struck rocks off Italy’s coast, a cook from the ship told a Filipino television station. In an interview with GMA Network, cook Rogelio Barista said Capt. Francesco Schettino ordered dinner less than an hour after the accident.”

• U.S. stocks prepare for cautious trading day ahead: “U.S. stocks are gearing up for a cautious open Friday, as investors await the outcome of key Greek debt talks. Still looming large over investors are fears about the European debt crisis, particularly the prospect that Greece may end up defaulting in a disorderly fashion.”

Joe Paterno allies to confront PSU Board of Trustees: “Members of a Penn State alumni group who opposed how longtime football coach Joe Paterno was fired will question the university’s Board of Trustees when it meets Friday. The meeting is the first by the board since Paterno’s controversial firing in November.”

Fox News

Fox News: CNN’s John King Helped Newt Gingrich Win South Carolina

Did CNN’s John King swing the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich?

That’s what several Fox News analysts said on Saturday, including former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who said that Gingrich should take King out to a steak dinner for his tough questioning during Thursday night’s debate.

King opened CNN’s candidates debate by asking Gingrich a controversial question about an interview ABC conducted with his ex-wife Marianne in which she said the former Speaker wanted an “open marriage.”

Gingrich then attacked King, calling his second wife’s claim “trash” and saying he was “appalled” that King would open a presidential debate with such a question.

Also read: Newt Gingrich Calls Ex-Wife’s Claims ‘Trash,’ Rips CNN

Gingrich went on to have another strong debate, and attacking the media has long been a specialty of his.

In his victory speech after his win in South Carolina on Saturday, he took another opportunity to say the media elite was out of touch with the American people.

But it was King’s question and the debate that Fox analysts argued swung the vote since a large number of voters were still undecided.

“Taking on the media is always good in a Republican primary,” Fox analyst Karl Rove said. “John King couldn’t have set up the question in a more positive way for Gingrich to just nail it and haul it right out of the park.”

Also read: Jon Stewart Offers Gingrich New Slogan: ‘Open Your Legs, America’ (Video)

Marianne Gingrich’s claims clearly did not have a huge effect on her ex-husband’s popularity among women in South Carolina, as he won the largest number of votes with both sexes.

For its part, CNN political analysts blamed continued discontent with Mitt Romney and said that the ABC interview may prove more damaging in the future. Analysts such as Wolf Blitzer did say the debates gave Gingrich a big boost, as they almost did in Iowa until Romney’s negative advertising overwhelmed Gingrich’s underfunded campaign there.

Gingrich, in a rare case of modesty — or perhaps false modesty — said in his victory speech that he is not a particularly good debater but that he “articulates the deepest held values” of the American people.

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